Progressive pundit and “hip-hop” academic Marc Lamont Hill came under fire Thursday from online critics after he responded to the news about actor Tom Hanks and his wife testing positive for coronavirus with a racist “joke” that he later deleted.
Announcing on Twitter that Hanks and actress wife Rita Wilson have contracted the coronavirus, Hill quipped, “I’m Black. Call me when Will and Jada got it,” referring to black husband-and-wife actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. The wisecrack was roundly condemned online by the likes of Media Research Center’s Gabriel Hays, who wrote, “You know what goes great with a slice of coronavirus media panic? Well, racist jokes of course.”
“Deleted,” Hill later wrote. “I wasn’t trying to be mean. I was making a joke that came across poorly. All my fault.”
Hill had been dropped by CNN in 2018 after he gave a speech at the United Nations in which he accused the Israeli government of “normalizing settler colonialism” and called for a “free Palestine from the river to the sea” — a “Palestinian” call for the genocide of Jews.